12 June, 2003
BRUSSELS 12/06/2003 (ANA/V. Demiris)
Issues pertaining to the preparation of the European Union Thessaloniki Council, to be held at the end of the month in the resort area of Halkidiki, have been central to a meeting here on Wednesday between Greek Prime Minister and EU Council president-in-office Costas Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi.
In statements after their meeting, Simitis and Prodi said that the Council will primarily deal with the results of the Convention on the Future of Europe and the draft EU Constitution, the Union’s immigration and asylum policy, Transatlantic relations, the European security policy and EU relations with the Western Balkans.
In addition, Simitis said the Council should decide on the opening of the intergovernmental conference in October, which should have been concluded by the 2004 Euroelections.
Referring to the draft EU Constitution to be tabled at the Thessaloniki Council by the Convention, the Greek premier said there is already consensus among EU member-states over the draft Constitution, adding that the agreement that would be reached by the majority of member-states should form the basis for the eventual outcome.
Speaking on the same issue, Prodi noted that the draft EU Constitution should be the starting point for the intergovernmental conference, to follow the EU Council, while he proposed that the Thessaloniki Council should send out a strong message for the EU’s economic recovery.
With regard to the Balkans, Simitis stressed that the EU wants to convey a positive message to those nations, that their future entry into the EU should take into account that there is a need to change the current conditions prevailing in the region.
Source: Athens News Agency